Unsurprisingly Jessica had woken too soon. It is nearly impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep in the middle of the day. When it became clear that there was no more sleep to be had, Jessica got out of bed, and went to the kitchen. She hoped in vain, to find something to eat waiting for her.

Alas it seems that cooking was on the agenda. It was times like these when a microwave sounded like an investment in her future rather than a waste of money. Jessica stared blankly into the refrigerator waiting for inspiration that wouldn’t come from a bunch of condiments. A noise from next door snapped her out of it, only to repeat the staring contest with the bare pantry. Turns out when you are this tired, the time you do have to yourself isn’t worth much.

Jessica’s phone rang. After wondering for a second why anyone would call when she should be sleeping, she realized that it was her mother. No matter how many times Jessica told her mom not to call in the morning, she did it anyway.

Jessica answered as she thought, “Well, I’m already awake anyway.”

“Hi Honey! How’s my favorite girl?”

“Hi Mom. I’m doing alright.”

“You sound down, you need to get out and do stuff! Have fun, meet people, get busy, ya know.” Jessica knew exactly what kind of busy her Mom meant, to her the whole point of going to college was to get married, and the whole reason for getting a husband was to give her grandkids.

“I’m fine, just tired. I am already very busy with work. I don’t have time or energy to do anything, especially meet guys, get married, have kids. We both know what you are driving at.”

“When you meet a guy you can stay at home and raise the kids. Men like to be the ones bringing home the bacon.”

“Mother, you are a walking stereotype.”

“What, honey?” Jessica knew from experience that there was no point in explaining why she didn’t agree.

“Nothing Mom.”

“You can’t be working as much as all that. The law says you can’t work more than 40 hours a week.”

“Mom, the law says that IF I work more than 40 hours a week, I get paid more for those hours.”

“Why would anyone need to work that much?”

“Because I don’t get paid enough to live on.  Mom, I am working 84 hours a week and still behind on things. You know I don’t need much, but what I do need I need to pay for.”

“I bet the company would rather have you work less so they can pay less.” She completely brushed over the part about not have enough money despite the increased pay.

“The company does want to pay less, that’s why they are looking for people. But they keep burning people, and there are better places to work, less hours, more pay.”

“So why don’t you get one of those jobs?”

“Because I have no time. Job hunting is the worst job out there, and you don’t get paid for it.”

“Getting out and meeting people is the best way to find a job. That’s what your father did, and he was able to support the whole family.”

“Mom, that doesn’t work anymore. Look, I gotta go shopping. Talk to you later.”

“Let me know if you need anything. Hugs and kisses. Toodaloo!”

“Bye, Mom.”

Leave it to Mom to make a hopeless situation worse. As it was, the dauntingly empty pantry and refrigerator problem was not going to get solved; just delayed a bit with a case of ramen. Jessica chuckled to herself a bit as she thought about how towards the end of college she was looking forward, not to graduation, but the end of ramen days. That still had not happened.

Chapter 4 – Dining Out

Table of Contents

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